Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the most admired and skilled actors of his generation, and it's astounding to realize that in just a couple of years, Jake will have been professionally acting for three decades. Gyllenhaal could have undoubtedly become one of the most famous blockbuster actors of his age when he was still in his twenties, but he seems to favor quality over quantity. Those preferences appear to have paid off for his career.
Jake has made so many amazing films throughout his career that some of his most famous and most renowned roles aren't even in the top ten rated movies on his Rotten Tomatoes profile. Even Brokeback Mountain barely managed to crack his top ten, which is astounding. Jake already has a body of work that has spanned decades and includes every kind of role under the sun, so here are his top 10 movies of all time, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Brokeback Mountain - 87%
Out of every film that Jake Gyllenhaal has ever made, Brokeback Mountain is probably the role that he is best known for. This tale of a decades-long romance between two closeted cowboys was a landmark of filmmaking and a masterpiece love story in its own right.
Jake's performance as Jack Twist was one of the best of his career (even though it is often overshadowed by Heath Ledger's exceptional performance as Ennis). It's pretty astonishing that Brokeback Mountain only has an 87% approval rating, but ironically it seems that a lot of film critics tend to be behind the curve when it comes to truly revolutionary films.
9 City Slickers- 88%
Apparently, Jake Gyllenhaal was just born for success in the acting world because his very first credited role as an actor is in one of his highest-rated films on Rotten Tomatoes: City Slickers. In the movie, Jake plays Danny Robbins, the son of the lead character, Mitch Robbins.
Mitch, a successful advertising executive, gets an adventure on a week-long cattle drive as a "gift" to get him out of his comfort zone. Jake's role in the film is relatively brief, but it's easy to see that he was cute as a button and brimming with talent.
8 Zodiac- 89%
Director David Fincher seems to be a master of creating unsettling cinema, and one of his most uneasy films to watch is without a doubt Zodiac. Zodiac is based on the shocking true story of the Zodiac Killer, and the newspaper cartoonist (played by Gyllenhaal in the film) who becomes obsessed with the case and very likely discovered who the real killer may have been.
The murders are still unsolved, and there are still a few different possible suspects. The cartoonist Robert Graysmith did one of the most detailed investigations into the case, and the suspect he discovered still stands as one of the prime suspects.
7 Stronger- 90%
When something seriously shocking and traumatic happens that manages to capture the attention of the entire country or even the whole world, often times people might know the basics of what happened without knowing the real human stories that exist behind it.
One of Jake Gyllenhaal's top Rotten Tomatoes films, Stronger, tells one of those stories. Stronger is about a man named Jeff Bauman, a competitor in the 2013 Boston marathon that was tragically the target of a terrorist bombing. The film manages to be sad, inspiring, devastating, and hopeful all at the same time, and Jake as Jeff brings a lot of life to this real man's story.
6 Spider-Man: Far From Home- 90%
It took Jake Gyllenhaal a surprisingly long time to throw his hat into the ring with the whole comic book movie adaptation thing, but now that he has finally joined in on the juggernaut, it seems like he was just waiting for the perfect movie to get into it.
The latest installment of the Spider-Man franchise is also the most financially successful Spider-Man movie of all time, and in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Gyllenhaal plays the Marvel supervillain Mysterio. Mysterio starts off posing as a friend to Peter Parker, although he ultimately winds up being his foe.
5 Source Code- 91%
After Duncan Jones' first foray into filmmaking with the incredibly unusual and memorable Moon, everyone was waiting with bated breath to see what he would offer up for his next movie. Source Code certainly didn't disappoint.
In the film, Jake plays the character of Captain Colter Stevens, an Army pilot who has been put in a computer simulation program to discover who may have put a bomb on a train. The movie goes off in some wild directions that no one would have seen coming at the start. Although it requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, it's still an entertaining ride.
4 October Sky- 91%
Throughout his career, Jake Gyllenhaal has taken on some undeniably off the wall roles. However, it is nice to see him work on some very straightforward heartwarming dramas like October Sky as well.
Gyllenhaal was still a youngin' when he starred in this movie as Homer Hickam, a man who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 as a teenager and took up rocket science as a hobby. He later became an actual NASA engineer as an adult. It's a lovely drama about following your dreams, and the fact that it is based on a true story only makes it more inspiring.
3 Wildlife- 94%
Although prestige relationship drama films are pretty much guaranteed to be critical successes, this particular film that rests near the top of Jake Gyllenhaal's Rotten Tomatoes ranking is a pretty standard movie type with a bit of a twist.
Wildlife is based on a novel of the same name by author Richard Ford, and fellow renowned actor Paul Dano actually directed the film. Jake plays the character of Jerry, a sporadically employed father who is having problems in his marriage and is too helpless and stubborn to do much besides sit back and watch as his entire family seems to fall apart.
2 Nightcrawler- 95%
Before his role in Nightcrawler, people used many words to describe Jake Gyllenhaal, but creepy generally wasn't any of them. However, Jake really showed off his considerable acting chops when he took on the role of Louis Bloom. Bloom is a sociopathic loner who discovers an exceptional talent for finding horrific accidents and crimes to film throughout the night in LA so he can sell the footage to local news stations for the morning news.
Eventually, Louis isn't satisfied just capturing the scenes he finds and often winds up creating even more dangerous and deadly scenarios that he can record and sell to the press.
1 Donnie Darko: 15th Anniversary Edition- 100%
Although it was nothing more than a sleeper success when it was initially released, Donnie Darko has undoubtedly become one of Jake Gyllenhaal's most recognizable and beloved films. Different iterations of the movie (the original and the director's cut) also appeared in Gyllenhaal's Rotten Tomatoes top ten, which we edited out so a few other Gyllenhaal movies could get their due.
The 15th-anniversary edition is at the very top of the list. This surreal movie kind of defies description, but Jake knocks it out of the park as the lead character of Donnie Darko, a boy who may or may not have discovered time travel.